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Published February 17, 2011, 03:58 PM

Midwest, Plains Bankers Optimistic on Economy

A new survey of bankers suggests the outlook for rural areas of 10 Midwest and Plains states remains positive thanks to the improving economy.

By: Associated Press,

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — A new survey of bankers suggests the outlook for rural areas of 10 Midwest and Plains states remains positive thanks to the improving economy.

The overall Rural Mainstreet economic index declined to 55.3 in February from January's 59.3, but the index remains in positive territory above 50, which suggests the economy will expand over the next six months. A score below 50 would suggest the economy will contract.

Creighton University economics professor Ernie Goss, who oversees the survey, said Thursday that the region's economy benefited from the strengthening global economy, a cheap dollar and alternative energy production.

Bankers in rural parts of Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming are surveyed.

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